Published on December 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Beat writers Brett LoGiurato and Andrew John analyze Syracuse’s chances against the ACC’s N.C. State on Dec. 4.
HOLD THE POSE, MICHAEL: Jordan scripted the perfect ending to his Bulls’ career with a jumper, holding the pose as the ball fell through the net to give Chicago an 87-86 lead over the Utah Jazz with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 1998 finals. Did Jordan get away with pushing off on Bryon Russell, as the beaten defender would always maintain? Maybe. But when you’re a six-time NBA Finals MVP, you might get away with a bit more. “What a finish!” coach Phil Jackson screamed as he hugged Jordan after the buzzer. Sure was. by Brian MahoneyMIAMI (AP) — Tony Parker’s shot to clinch Game 1 wasn’t pretty, but it quickly took its place among some of the great NBA Finals finishes.From Michael Jordan’s last basket with Chicago to Magic Johnson’s baby hook in Boston, some of the game’s biggest stars have saved their best for last.Parker’s banked-in bucket and Jordan’s finals farewell both came with the same time on the clock — 5.2 seconds. Here’s a look at some of the memorable moments in the NBA’s championship round. PARKER’S KITCHEN SINK SHOT: With the Spurs clinging to a two-point lead late in Game 1 against the Heat on Thursday, Parker needed every trick in his bag to pull off his remarkable shot-clock beater. He zipped past Chris Bosh and eluded a swipe from Dwyane Wade before running into LeBron James near the baseline. After losing the handle, Parker regained control of the ball, only to slip as he tried to turn the corner on James. He fell to his knee, but didn’t panic even as the shot clock ticked toward zero. Parker stood back up, leaned under James and released the shot a split-second before the buzzer sounded. James even got a hand on it, but the ball banked high off the glass, hit the rim twice and fell through. “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession,” James said. PUT IT IN DIRK’S (INJURED) HAND: Down 1-0 and losing big late in Game 2 of the 2011 finals against Miami, the Dallas Mavericks made a big fourth-quarter rally behind Dirk Nowitzki, who was playing with a torn tendon on the middle finger of his left hand. Nowitzki ignored the pain to score the Mavs’ final nine points, making his last two baskets with that injured hand, including the go-ahead lefty layup with 3.6 seconds left in a 95-93 victory. Dallas would win the series in six games, with Nowitzki the finals MVP. MAGIC HOOKS THE LAKERS A VICTORY: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook, but it was teammate Magic Johnson’s baby hook with 2 seconds left that gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the 1987 finals over the rival Boston Celtics. With the Lakers trailing by one, Johnson drove to his right into the paint, lofting a hook shot over Kevin McHale as Robert Parish and Larry Bird tried to help contest for a 107-106 lead. The Lakers couldn’t relax until Bird missed at the buzzer, and they would eventually close out their longtime rivals at home in Game 6. WHOA, NELLIE!: OK, there was more than a minute left, but Don Nelson’s shot was about as crazy as Parker’s. With the Celtics protecting a one-point lead over the Lakers in Game 7 of the 1969 finals, the ball was batted away from John Havlicek and went right to Nelson at the foul line. He quickly fired a jumper that hit the back of the rim, bounced straight up in the air, and eventually fell to put the Celtics up 105-102 with 1:15 to go. Boston hung on for a 108-106 victory, its last of 11 titles in 13 years with Bill Russell. San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) makes the final shot of the game against the Miami Heat during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game, Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Back Row, from left, John Wooten, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, and Bobby Mitchell stand behind Muhammad Ali before the start of the Ali Humanitarian Awards ceremony Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 at the Louisville Mariott Downtown in Louisville, Ky. The four were participants of the ‘Ali Summit’ in 1967, and Brown will be receiving the Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Muhammad Ali was on the ropes for refusing induction into the Army, and Jim Brown wanted to help. But first, the NFL great wanted to hear the boxing champion’s reasons for not answering the call to military service during the Vietnam War.So Brown led a group of prominent Black athletes who hit Ali with a flurry of questions during a two-hour meeting in Cleveland in June 1967. Ali didn’t duck the questions and stuck to his principles, citing his religious beliefs in refusing to join the military.The dozen athletes, including Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, emerged from the meeting to publicly support Ali at a time when the champ was one of the country’s most polarizing figures.“People got the answers that they wanted,” Brown recalled Saturday.Nearly 50 years after the meeting, now known as the “Ali Summit,” several participants including Brown and Russell were at Ali’s side again Saturday night in the boxing champ’s hometown. Brown received a lifetime humanitarian achievement award bearing Ali’s name.While posing for photos with the 72-year-old Ali, Brown leaned over and whispered to the seated former heavyweight champion. Later, Brown said he told Ali: “You’re the greatest of all time.”The lineup of Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award winners included Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon and Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Common. Other award winners included a half-dozen young adults from around the world honored for their humanitarian roles.But much of the spotlight was on that meeting decades ago in Cleveland when Ali, was at his most vulnerable, and how the group of athletes joined Ali’s corner in the fight of the champ’s life. Several participants met at the Muhammad Ali Center a few hours before the awards event Saturday night. Ali, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, met the group shortly before the awards show at a downtown hotel.“No one had really sat down and listened to him and given him the respect of having him tell his point of view,” Brown said in recalling the 1967 meeting.Former NFL player John Wooten, another meeting participant, said Ali’s questioners “came at him with everything.” The man known for his brashness in the ring was humble when explaining his reasons, he said.It was enough to win over another participant, former NFL player Bobby Mitchell.“I came there ready to try to talk him into going into the service,” Mitchell said Saturday. “I actually felt that way. He whipped my behind pretty quick, because he can talk. But when it was all over, I felt good about walking out of there saying, ‘We back him.’”Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing title in 1967 while in his prime and was convicted of draft evasion. Ali found himself embroiled in a legal fight that ended in 1971, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.Ali regained the heavyweight title in 1974, defeating George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle.” A year later, he outlasted Joe Frazier in the epic “Thrilla in Manila” bout. Ali’s last title came in 1978 when he defeated Leon Spinks.Long before Ali became an icon, the meeting’s participants were taking a risk by throwing their support behind him.“It was the United States government that we were dealing with,” Brown said Saturday. “Careers were at stake. And everybody that showed up at that meeting put all of that on the line. That was heavyweight stuff.”Russell, who pulled up a decades-old photo of himself and Ali on his smartphone, said the legal battle came down to citizenship rights. Russell had known Ali for years and never doubted his sincerity when citing his reasons for refusing military service. Russell said the legal fight transformed Ali.“He became a hero to a lot of young folks in this country, black and white,” the basketball great said. “Because what he was talking about was citizenship. And my citizenship, or Jim’s … is not a gift from other citizens. It’s a right of birth.”Brown, an outspoken civil-rights advocate who remains active in efforts to stem violence, improve education and uplift neighborhoods, said he didn’t want to compare the role of athletes today and in his era.“I’m here to motivate as many people as I can in this country to take a look at the violence … and the inferior education that a lot of our kids are getting,” he said.Former NFL star Ray Lewis, who joined the players from a previous generation Saturday, said Ali’s principles still resonate with young people today.“He did stand for something, and that something changed generations of young men, realizing that we all have a true freedom, a true opportunity to do what you’re going to do, say what you’re going to say,” he said. “And if you believe strongly in something, truthfully in your heart, follow it.”